Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | February 5, 2015

New Treatment for Obesity???

There’s some really fascinating research coming down the pike about the role bacteria in our gut (our so-called microbiome) play in our overall health. Rapidly becoming mainstream is the idea of “fecal transplants” to cure resistant gut infections with a particularly nasty germ called clostridium difficile (or C. diff to its friends — er, to those who know it well).

Now there’s a case report of a patient who was cured of her C. diff infection with a fecal transplant from an overweight donor, who is now packing on the pounds. While we need to be cautious about that whole correlation-causation thing, the incident is apparently compelling enough for the authors to avoid overweight fecal donors in the future.

I read this a bit differently.

Analogous to bone marrow transplants (curing bone marrow cancers like leukemia and lymphoma by wiping out the bad marrow with radiation and chemo and then replacing it with marrow from a healthy donor) how about this:

Take overweight patients and wipe out their gut microbiome with powerful antibiotics (preferably ones that aren’t absorbed; vancomycin comes to mind.) Then give them a fecal transplant from a non-overweight donor and see what happens. It seems extraordinarily low risk, despite the ick factor. Frankly, I’d sign up for that in a heartbeat.

Gives a whole new twist to the sentiment “Eat shit.”



  1. The saying will become, “Eat shit and diet.” 🙂

  2. As soon as my technicians and I learned of the potential for oral versions of the previously-exclusively rectal ROA, we shared various opinions as to how we would phrase directions for our patients (many akin to the sentoment you mentioned).
    Anyway, I’d try it!

  3. Nice one, Elle!

  4. I would be willing to try that.

  5. I’ve had the same thought. It does, though, make me wonder why the local biz OpenBiome won’t accept stool donations from anyone over 50. Do they think my donation would make the recipient old?

  6. Thanks, Finn. This explains why, now that I’m over 80, no one will take any shit from me. And I must be getting old because even my kids are now too old to be donors.

  7. I wonder if it would be possible to make a career out of being a fecal donor? A thin person with healthy gut flora could retire at an early age. However, the stress of having to produce could interfere with the quality of the donation and then it would be back to the usual daily toil.

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